Author Archives: Christopher S. Rugaber

From Rents to Haircuts, Americans Start to Feel Price Hikes

Apartment rents are up. So are prices for restaurant meals, haircuts, gym memberships and a cup of coffee.

For American consumers who have become used to flat or even falling prices for several years, an unfamiliar sight has emerged in many corners of the economy: Inflation is ticking up. Read More

US Economy Rebounding with Solid If Unspectacular Job Gains

Rebounding from a dismal start to the year, the U.S. economy added 223,000 jobs in April, a solid gain that suggested that employers are helping fuel a durable if still subpar recovery.

The job growth helped lower the unemployment rate to 5.4 percent from 5.5 percent in March, the Labor Department said Friday. That is the lowest rate since May 2008, six months into the Great Recession. Read More

Why the Outlook for Global Economy Has Brightened

From the United States to Asia to Europe, a global economy that many had feared was faltering appears poised for a resurgence on the strength of cheap oil and falling interest rates.

That’s the strikingly upbeat view of economists surveyed by The Associated Press, who no longer see Europe’s financial crisis, the U.S. housing market or congressional gridlock as the threats they appeared to be last year. Read More

US Housing Recovery Appears To Be Back On Track

A fourth straight monthly increase in sales of existing homes provided the latest evidence Thursday that the U.S. housing market is rebounding from a weak start to the year.

Housing has been a drag on an otherwise strengthening economy, in part because a harsh winter delayed many sales. But Americans are stepping up purchases as more homes have been put up for sale. Read More

US home prices rise in May by most in 7 years

U.S. home prices jumped 12.2 percent in May from a year ago, the most in seven years. The increase suggests the housing recovery is strengthening. Real estate data provider CoreLogic said Tuesday, July 2, that home prices rose from a year ago in 48 states. Read More

How higher rates touch consumers, firms, investors

All it took was speculation that the Federal Reserve could slow its bond buying months from now — and then a few words Wednesday, June 19, from Chairman Ben Bernanke to confirm it. The result is that record-low interest rates that have fueled economic growth, cheered the stock market, shrunk mortgage rates but punished savers are headed up. Read More

S&P downgrade of long-term US debt divides experts

Standard & Poor’s decision to downgrade the credit rating of long-term U.S. debt has unleashed a flood of responses from critics and defenders.
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Consumer inflation may be peaking, economists say

After weeks of pain at the gas pump and the grocery store, the worst appears to be over. Oil prices have fallen, with gas soon to follow. Read More

Consumer prices rise moderately but inflation tame

Consumer prices rose moderately in October but there was little sign of inflation as the cost of autos, clothing and hotels fell.

The Labor Department said Wednesday, November 17, the Consumer Price Index rose by 0.2 percent last month, an increase from September’s 0.1 percent rise. Wall Street analysts had expected a slightly larger increase. It was the fourth straight rise. Gasoline prices accounted for most of the increase, rising by 4.6 percent in October, the biggest gain since July.

Excluding the volatile food and energy categories, the core consumer index…read more Read More

Consumer prices, excluding gas, flat last month

Consumer prices, excluding energy, were flat in September for the second straight month, a sign that cost-conscious consumers are making it difficult for businesses to charge more . . . read more Read More

Jobless claims rise to highest level in 9 months

Employers appear to be laying off workers again as the economic recovery weakens. The number of people applying for unemployment benefits reached the half-million mark last week for the first time since November . . . read more Read More

Companies hire at slow pace for 3rd straight month

Companies showed a lack of confidence about hiring for a third straight month in July, making it likely the economy will grow more slowly the rest of the year. The unemployment rate was unchanged at 9.5 percent… Read More

Unemployment aid won’t be enough to boost recovery

For jobless Americans struggling to pay their bills and keep their homes, the restoration of unemployment benefits could keep their crisis from getting worse . . . read more Read More

Cautious consumers may fuel debate over deficits

A tepid gain in consumer spending last month could fuel a debate over whether the United States and other governments should further stimulate their economies to sustain the recovery.

A report that Americans spent cautiously in May came after world leaders meeting in Toronto over the weekend pledged to reduce government deficits by . . . read more Read More

Highlights from the Fed’s latest economic survey

The Federal Reserve’s survey of economic conditions found growth has spread to all parts of the country for the first time since the recession began.

The survey, released Wednesday, June 16, and known as the Beige Book, is based on information collected from the Fed’s 12 regional bank districts. The last time the 12 regions all showed growth was in late 2007 . . . read more Read More